Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fun Run - TeamLease

All eyes were on Venkatesan, he was under tremendous pressure. At the Friday evening party, Denzil, after a couple of drinks took a shot on Venkatesan and challenged to run past him at the Sunday race. The fun committee was having all the fun in putting one against the other and speculating the challengers and the winners all week long, which I realized was only to add more entries, so much for what they have learnt from the media.

Leaving all the lazy bums, we had 80+ of the TL’ers dressed in bright excel white….not excel sheet…I meant Surf excel..TL T-shirts on time at the Ulsoor Lake.

Prajwala was running around with Red & Blue ribbons and calling out the runners list, the Blue ribbons for the 1 lap i.e 3 km + runners and the Red for 2 laps i.e 6 km+ runners. Some of them gave this surprised look when I sported the Red ribbon, must be wondering if I still have any energy left after all the screaming I do at office.

Hari, after the on-mark call went off to sleep….zzzzzzzzz… till some one woke him up asking him to blow the whistle. Prrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..there goes the stampede, Satish dressed in RED tracks started off as if there was no tomorrow; his strategy was that since he was anyways not going to be first at the end of the race he might as well start first!! Good going Satish. Then we had Bharath, who had prepared for the race for over 2 weeks, was running with Venkatsen. Ashok for some reason decided to ditch Mohit and me. But trust Mohit on his assessment; he convinced me that we should not run with Ashok as he would drop-out in-between and we will be drained out at that speed.

Even before the race began, Manjunath put on the fun committee badge and decided to be a volunteer. As the run was also to raise funds for the Rakum school for the blind, we had every one contributing their bit...so it was FUN run and for a CAUSE.

Denzil started to walk as we reached the MEG gate, which would be 100 mts from the start, wow!!!! he was conserving energy to do the final dash…. or maybe looking around for a Temp job to make some quick bucks for paying off all his bets on the race.

Neeti turned pink after a few yards but decided her color is red and continued to run; Sangeeta was already in all pink, looked too happy……for once no one asked her about some pending client mail.

After the 1st lap we had more volunteers than runners, Suman, Moses all driving across the lake forcing the runners to drink water.

Karthik who makes people reach airport 2 hours early…made a late entry…he joined us when we started the 2nd lap; we had Shabana who smartly took an auto to reach soon and Swetha was asking for directions at the Gurudwara.

Denzil made “the grand” entry, when all we could think was breakfast we had to wait till the last one touched the finish line…and there comes Denzil huffing and puffing for dear life...

Abhinav had the privilege of clocking each one of us and seemed thrilled doing so, then we had a whole lot of the cheer leaders (not the IPL types)….

It was time to announce the winner, Bharath Nair’s (grand old man of TeamLease) happiness was too short lived, when he realized that Vijay won the race in 24 minutes, clocking 10 minutes less than what he clocked after sneakily running past Venkatesan.

Rahul, Kannan & Salil surprised most of us and themselves J taking the winning spots 1…2….3…..respectively in the 1 lap race, Rahul was seen practicing for the race all week long running around Fun World….. then we had Vijay, Bharath & Venkatesan taking the 1…2….3…..spots respectively in the 2 lap race. Its prize time now, we had the fun committee that has fixed the spots which would get prizes so we had 1, 5, 10, 15……getting the prizes, Mohit got lucky with his 5th spot prize, Ashok made faces as he did not get a prize even after beating Mohit….

Finally we had all “South Indian” breakfast at Shanti Sagar and left in ‘good shape’.

It’s all for FUN…so……..cheers to our fun committee and thanks to Mohit who came up with the brilliant run idea….

- Kavitha Reddy

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mythri Mahila Koota

Mythri Mahila Koota a premier all women organization celebrated their 3rd Anniversary on 7th July 2013. The event was organized at Shakuntaladevi International Institute of Management Sciences, Sector 4, HSR Layout.

The program started with the lighting of the lamp by the Chief Guest, Guest of Honor, President, Vice President, Secretary of Mythri Mahila Koota, with a devotional song.

Mrs Aida D’cunha who is the member of Mythri Mahila Koota was the MC for the event introduced the guests and welcomed them on behalf of Mythri Mahila Koota. The secretary read out the achievement and various social service programs organized by Mythri Mahila Koota for the year 2012-13 and thanked all the donors.

The Chief Guest Mrs Vasanti Savanur, Trustee Samarthanam congratulated Mythri Mahila Koota for all its work and specially praised the May Day initiative when the House Keeping & Maid Staff of the household are recognized. The Guest of Honor Mrs Agnes Gladies Pereira Prof Oxford Nursing College & President Mahila Congress Bommanahalli spoke about women leadership and the importance of women in public life, called upon the members of Mythri Mahila Koota to develop women leaders. The President of Mythri Mahila Koota Mrs Sunanda V Reddy in her address thanked all the members for their support and emphasized that their unity, trust and participation is the greatest strength. She cited the eg of a auto driver who refused to take money from her when she asked him to drop few visually impaired students at Samarthanam Trust office, to drive home that point that one does not have to be rich to serve or help people, the kindness and respect for humanity is more important. 

Mythri Mahila Koota & Mrs Pushpa Kupendra Reddy felicitated Mrs Kavitha Reddy who is a renowned Mountaineer & Successful Professional. Mrs Aida D’cunha spoke passionately about Mrs Kavitha Reddy and said she is a great example of how women can be achievers in every field.

Mythri Mahila Koota also had put-up an excellent cultural show and entertained the audience for over 2 hours who were asking for more. The cultural show began with a group dance who danced to the some of the best old Kannada songs, followed by solo dances by member’s children. The play ‘Is there a solution for this’ directed Mrs Prema Murthy by which was based on real life incidents, how we forget our responsibility as citizens and blame everyone else. Mythri Mahila Koota expresses their solidarity with the people of Uttrakhand and contributed their might to the PM Flood Relief Fund. The program ended with a devotional song followed by a dinner for all the members and their family & friends.

- Rohini Reddy, Scientist & Resident of HSR Layout.

About Mythri Mahila Koota, is a well known women’s organization of HSR Layout with over 60 active members mostly homemakers. MMK focuses on welfare of women and children without any political affiliation, MMK objectives:

Initiate programs that can improve and support women empowerment, uphold dignity of women from all walks of society, welfare of women & children. 

Conduct programs for women, children & less privileged that focuses on Education, Economic, Social, Cultural, Environmental aspects. 

Provide assistance to women & children especially from poor and underprivileged sections. Foster Educational, Economical, Environmental and Social well being in the society.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Citizen’s Clean-up Drive of Agara Lake

Encroachments, Real Estate Lobby, Abuse of Nature, Apathy of elected Representative and non-responsive Authorities have lead to the vanishing of Lakes in Bangalore. The city that boosted of it gardens, park and lakes is now at the mercy real estate lobbies whose greed and disrespect to nature had turned the city into a concrete jungle.

The citizens of HSR Layout on 7th July gathered to create awareness and draw the attention of the authorities towards Agara Lake. 15 gardeners appointed by the citizens have been working for the last 2 days clearing weeds and floating plastic in the lake, about 400 people from all walks of life - young & old, men & women joined hands to clear the non-biodegradable garbage on walking tracks and floating plastic in the lake.

Sowjanya & Jenitha spoke about how the lake was once a prime attraction for the residents of Mantri Sarovar few years ago, and today they are scared even to go for a walk along with their children in the evening as anti-social elements have occupied the lake. They also mentioned about the importance of children knowing their environment, respecting it, be prepared to protect and save the nature.

Jay Krishanan who is one of the organizer of the event said ‘It is a 1st step and we hope to create awareness and build momentum in the days to come, we have received good support so far from the LDA and will work with them to make it more and more effective and we want the BBMP to ensure the rain water reaches the lake’. Sudhakar another resident commented that ‘Lake was a place which many avoided due to the goons and illegal activities that take place in the lake’. 

Suresh Shetty part of the organizing team went to many apartments to invite them to participate in the walkathon, he says ‘one good thing about Agara Lake is that encroachments are not a possibility as the lake is surrounded by roads, at least that ensures the lake size will not reduce any further’.

The citizens have been meeting the government authorities consistently and had also invited Mr Kaushik Mukherjee Additional Chief Secretary Govt of Karnataka, Dr Ravi Ralph CEO Lake Development Authority and Dr Yellappa Reddy Redt IFS Officer, well know Environmentalist also to come and motive the citizens. Both Mr Mukherjee and Dr Ralph walked with the citizens re-assuring their commitment to rejuvenate Agara Lake.

Dr Yellappa Reddy minced no words in stating that both the citizens and government are responsible for the present condition of Environment. He said encroachments have become a norm and the political representatives are hand-in glove with the real estate barons and builders. Sounding emotional he also said ‘We have no respect to the Nature and we have even ignored the 51A(g) of the constitution, where it is the fundamental duty of the citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures’. He gave the examples of how several lakes in Karnataka were build/restored/saved by individual who contributed their life savings. He also mentioned ‘today Bangalore is short of drinking water and if we continue to abuse and exploit the nature we will only see the worst’. Dr Yellappa Reddy was categorical that AT Ramaswamy report has to be taken up by the government strongly and there should be special courts to address encroachments of lakes and other ecological spots.

Munivenkatappa Retd ACP who is a regular jogger at the Agara Lake and also the President of the proposed citizen committee was quick to point out that ‘it’s important for all citizens to join hands, and no one person can make a change all by themselves, it will take 6-8 months of consistent effort to make the lake more visible and to bring back citizens to enjoy the nature, once the lake has more water more birds will start visiting the lake’.

It is noticed that even with good early monsoon the lake still has very less water; the blockages in SWD across the locality/ies have disrupted the flow of water into the lake. Almost all the SWD have huge amount of garbage pile up and has not been de-silted for many years. BBMP has not taken any concrete action on the garbage dumping in the Raj Kaluve or cleared the blockages. No amount of complains has woken up the BBMP from the slumber, they find excuses not to act upon each time a water logging or over flow of SWD is reported.

Mr Kaushik Mukherjee immediately called the relevant departments, soon a JCB and truck came to clear and carry back the debris and 70 odd bags of garbage that was collected by the citizens during the walkathon. The citizens bravely wore the gloves and picked the garbage from the lake and cleared most of the floating garbage.

The citizens had made personal contributions for the clean-up drive, with no support from any elected representative, it was also noticed that the local corporator who was invited by the citizens was absent, clearly showing lack of interest and disregard for the citizen initiative.

The citizens met the objectives of initiating a clean-up drive, creating awareness and bringing in participation. Hope today’s citizen drive will at least motivate the elected representatives of the locality to contribute their time and attention and not just look for photo opportunity.

- Kavitha Reddy

Also appeared in Citizen Matters